Excerpt of A Deeper Sleep by Dana Stabenow
(Page 1 of 9)
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This is just wrong, on so many levels, Jim thought.
For one thing, he was freezing his butt off. Even if the front of him was
For another, his boss might legitimately qualify his current activity as
a colossal waste of Jims time, not to mention the taxpayers dollar. Crime
had yet to be committed anywhere near or about his person.
If you didnt count the one he was about to commit if Kate kept rubbing
up against him like that.
Her head was a very nice fit beneath his chin, even if her hair did
tickle. She shifted again, and when he spoke, his voice was a little hoarse.
Are you sure you didnt get me out here under false pretenses, Shugak?
He heard the smile in her voice when she replied, felt the warmth of her
breath on his throat. Well, since it seems crime is the only thing that
makes my company tolerable to you, I figured Id find some.
He disregarded what she said for what she meant. Im not afraid of you.
She tilted her head to meet his eyes. I make you want to run away like a
You do not. It sounded weak, even to him.
She leaned back against him, warm and firm from chest to knee, and
dropped her voice to a whisper roughened by the scar that bisected her
throat. Say it again. And make me believe it.
He could have told her to step away. He could have pushed her away. He
did not do either of those things, and the sound of the truck coming down
the trail was the only thing that saved him.
And, sadly, Jim wasnt one bit happy when Kates focus shifted, too.
It was an elderly blue Ford pickup minus tailgate and rear bumper, its
passenger-side window replaced with an interwoven layer of duct tape, the
body rusting out from the tires up. The engine, however, maintained a
steady, confident rumble that indicated more beneath the peeling hood than
met the eye.
The homeowner had dutifully cleared the requisite thirty feet of
defensible space around her house in case of forest fires, which in this era
of dramatic climatic change were inclined to hit interior Alaska early and
often each spring. This and the winters meager snowfall made it easy for
the pickup to crunch through the thin layer of snow on the driveway and pull
around to the back of the house, where half a dozen fifty-five-gallon drums
rested in an upside-down pyramid on a solidly constructed two-by-four stand,
connected to each other so that the fuel from the top drums ran down into
the lower drums, with the bottom drum connected to the furnace in the house
by an insulated length of copper tubing.
Kate and Jim had positioned themselves in a convenient stand of alders at
the edge of the clearing, so they had a clear view of Willard Shugak as he
got out of his truck, disconnected the copper tubing, connected a hose to
the spigot, and began to siphon off the fuel in the drums on the stand to
the black barrel tank in the back of his pickup.
Kate swore beneath her breath. Jim kept his arms around her so shed shut
up and stay put. When he judged that enough fuel had been transferred from
the drums to the trucks tank to merit, at the $3.41 per gallon for diesel
fuel he had last seen on an Ahtna pump, the definition of theft as provided
for in the Alaska statutes, specifically 11.46.100, he said, Shall we? and
turned her loose.
Willard looked up when they emerged from the alders. When he saw Kate, he
went white and then red and then white again. Oh shit, he said, his voice
an insubstantial adolescent squeal that sounded odd coming out of the mouth
of a forty-year-old man.
Copyright © 2007 by Dana Stabenow. All rights reserved.